Question of the day.

If you could gain perfect fluency in any language instantly, but only one language, which would you choose?

My answer:

Oh my, this one’s so hard! I’d like to be perfectly fluent in ALL my languages, as quickly as only possible. But… one language… I think I’m going to go with the most difficult one out of the ones I want to learn, which I guess would be Sami, especially considering the small amount of speakers and even smaller of resources. If I could be fluent in any of the Sami languages (preferably LuleΓ₯ Sami but any will do) that would be very helpful.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (23rd September).

Does anyone in your family speak a language that you don’t?

My answer:

As I wrote earlier, my Dad speaks Kashubian, as does my gran and a lot of other people on my Dad’s side of the family. Some people in my Mum’s family who have lived here for a while have also learned enough of it to speak fairly well, apparently my grandma’s brother speaks Kashubian so well that no one can tell that he’s not a Kashub and some people who have married into my Mum’s family are Kashubs and can speak more or less Kashubian. My gran also speaks some German as she has some German heritage and was going to a German-speaking school but she remembers very little of it now. My Mum knows some Russian from school. When she was going to school, Russian was an obligatory language at schools here rather than English so everyone learned it, but while my Dad for example doesn’t remember almost anything, my Mum still has some vocabulary and often says she’d like to learn more of it, she can also read the Russian alphabet well and understands much more that she can say herself, my mum also has Russian roots since both my maternal grandparents do, she has a kind of sentiment for Russian language, culture and literature. Because of this, it’s not surprising that my maternal grandparents can also speak some Russian, I guess my grandma’s is actually quite decent and since she was born in what used to be Russia back then she also still has a very distinguishable eastern accent as do all of her siblings. Also both my maternal grandparents have been forever fascinated with France and studied French and seem to be good at it as well, and my grandad knows Latin very well. Some other of my family members also know some bits of Latin if they had it at uni like my Godmother but my grandad actually makes use of it. Sofi can speak bits of Spanish but can’t really communicate. She has started learning German this year at school as well and so far it’s surprising that while she’s not doing well with English, she’s doing very well with German even though it’s objectively a more difficult language from a Polish perspective. My one uncle works a lot in Norway and can speak some Norwegian, pretty well as far as I can tell, and my other uncle works in Germany and knows a little German but not too much. My grandma’s relatives can speak Belarussian as she also has Belarussian heritage. It’s funny with my cousin, who has learnt Italian since early school age and has always loved the language. She later discovered that she has a calling for religious life and has joined the Salesian sisters a few years ago, and this year they sent her to Italy for novitiate. So it’s definitely proven very useful.

How about your family? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (22nd September).

Did you ever study a foreign language by yourself?

My answer:

Sure, I think that’s the best way of learning a language if only you can manage to do it this way because no one knows what works for you quite as well as you do, and no one knows as well as you do what things you enjoy so only you can make your language learning thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve been learning English by myself since I left the blind boarding school when I started hanging around the Anglophone Interwebs and realised what I was already beginning to think years earlier, that school, any school really (at least I haven’t encountered a school over here that would be really good with languages unless it specialises in it but even then it’s no guarantee) isn’t going to teach me a language, and if I want to communicate in English and understand people I’d have to do it by myself. What school had done so far was it only managed to discourage me in some way, but thankfully more from English as a subject, which I found infinitely boring, rather than English as a language, but it was very close to it as well. I was pretty good at English at school most of the time and that was part of why I disliked the subject, that a lot of the time I had little to no constructive stuff to do in class.

Sometimes I feel like a kind of jerk when I say that I’ve taught myself English, first because I was going to school for so many years so surely it must have had some impact, and also I don’t really feel and never did like I put a whole lot of effort into my English learning, like most people do when they teach themselves anything. And yes, I did get the beginnings from school, as I wrote in the last post, I’m absolutely sure it all wouldn’t go as smoothly as it did if I had to start from scratch completely on my own. And I am extremely grateful for the bits and pieces that school did give me. But with what I got from school, while I had very good grades at English and could have a very basic conversation with someone with a lot of good will on both sides, I wasn’t really able to communicate effectively nor comprehend English very well either when reading or listening. I also don’t think it’s something fully due to my own merrit that I’ve managed to learn English to the extend that I did and as smoothly and easily as I did. I don’t believe in a “linguistic talent” because if it was the matter of talent we would have much more mute people or people with all sorts of language/speech disorders than we do, we also wouldn’t have had as much migration because people wouldn’t be able to learn another country’s language. But there are certainly some traits that people may or may not have that may make it easier to absorb languages, like a talent for catching the phonetics which I seem to have. And I think that has simplified the whole thing for me a whole lot, I also like learning languages and if someone does not, it’s typically going to take more time.

But even if I do have some particular language skills, I still feel like my English learning was kind of miraculous and insanely speedy given how little conscious effort I put into it. I immersed myself a lot into English, listening to different accents and just a lot of stuff in English and wanted to learn to distinguish different accents better than I could, and possibly also imitate them. I read a lot in English on the web so that it quickly became my habit that if I was googling something I did it automatically in English rather than Polish and still do. – I changed the interfaces of the devices/apps I used to English. I wrote my journal at least partly in English. Later I started penpalling which was at first very strenuous indeed for me to understand people and write in a comprehensive way, writing to a pen pal would take me ages but after that my brain would be buzzing in English for the next 24 hours so it was clear that it was doing me a lot of good, and over time, not very much time at all, it became less of a chore and much more of a pleasure and I think it’s penpalling and blogging that has been helping me the most. Then when I was already able to communicate quite well I also started this blog which had been my dream for years. Later yet, I started to read some books in English when I got access to them, and nowadays, I think the amounts of books I read in Polish and English are quite equal, and it has also been a very smooth transition, although it still requires more concentration from me to read books in English, but not the point where it would be uncomfortable or something.

While in my final year of college/high school I had briefly English classes with a private tutor, I thought it could be more helpful to show me what exactly my level is and what I have still to do, or at least help me to prepare for my finals. It did only one good thing for me. My teacher was super chatty and we talked a lot, so my conversational skills have improved. That was good as generally my daily, serious use of English evolves around writing, reading and listening (by “serious” I mean excluding talking to myself and conversating with Misha). I was already good with accents and such but nevertheless not particularly confident in speaking, and talking to him helped me to feel more at ease with it, at least in terms of language skills, as of course there’s also the whole socialising and peopling stress involved which is a totally different thing and can also affect things no matter in which language. Thanks to this, he certainly helped me to prepare for my oral English final exam as well. But other than that, it didn’t really take me anywhere further than I was and my general English level didn’t change because of it. So yeah, I think with English, I learned the most by myself. It’s been about six years since I left the boarding school and thus since I seriously started to learn English on my own, and I’ve learnt more in these 5 years than I did during English classes.

I am also currently learning Swedish by myself, although I started out with a tutor and, unlike school and the English tutor, he did a whole lot for me and I’m sure that if I didn’t meet someone like him, I wouldn’t be able to learn Swedish nor any language on my own now. He worked with me for two years first since I was 10, then we had a long break when I had to go back to the blind school as the integration school didn’t work out and that meant there was no way for us to meet up really. I avoided even the slightest contact with or any mention of Swedish as fire while at the boarding school because I felt like if I couldn’t learn it anymore it was pointless to think of it and it only made me feel extremely depressed, frustrated and angry. I forgot most of what I learned at least on a conscious level. But then I got the faza on Cornelis Vreeswijk when I was 17 and I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The more my faza developed, the more I felt almost literally how all the stuff I forgot was flooding my brain again, and I kept accidentally learning new, sophisticated words from his lyrics and poems, then I even managed to translate totally spontaneously a few of his poems with the little Swedish I had and these translations were really quite damn good as for my generally very poor Swedish skills by then. As it happened, the year I got that faza also turned out to be my last year at the boarding school, and in the autumn of that year I reconnected with my Swedish teacher. During our first lesson, he asked me to just say a few sentences in Swedish, whatever I was able to say, and neither of us was expecting much but I was actually able to express myself fairly coherently. He was very surprised and at first thought that I was learning by myself at school somehow or managed to find another tutor there after all, but then I told him that I was only kind of learning since about May but not really in a very serious way, and he said my brain must have somehow skipped over the most basic stages in no time because I actually knew more than what we’d covered in the past when I was in the integration school. That was weird, but that’s fazas for you, make your brain do strangely intense things without feeling like you’re doing much at all. πŸ˜€ I loved it and I kept skipping like that for a while yet.

But, skipping or no skipping, I certainly wouldn’t be able to be where I am with my Swedish and with other languages where I am now if he wouldn’t take up the challenge and try to teach me even though he had no idea about teaching blind people and even though back then when we were starting I didn’t even have an idea about any technologies or stuff so it all was really complicated. Most language teachers I’ve encountered are much more of scaredy cats. I just wouldn’t have the confidence that I am actually able to do it.

Now I’m no longer having lessons with him since a few years and I can learn Swedish on my own. With the help of emails from my Swedish pen pals, the Swedish Internet, some Swedish books, mostly children’s, that I can get, and loads and loads and loads of listening. That trip to Stockholm I once went for has also tremendously helped me, as well as my friendship with Jacek from Helsinki and meeting different people through him. I get very little practice in form of writing or speaking these days and somehow can’t figure out how best to change it, at least in terms of writing where it is more doable, in a way that would feel good and not like a chore, which makes me feel that my Swedish is kind of clunky and that it could be better, and I somehow feel like it has regressed a little bit since when my English has started improving so rapidly but I am definitely able to communicate with people and understand everything I read or hear unless it’s extremely sophisticated or someone speaks very fast with an accent that I don’t really get, like Scanian for example. πŸ˜€

And now I’m also learning Welsh by myself as there’s no other option, as for many of my other languages. I’d actually like it if there was someone in my area who could teach me so I wouldn’t have to think about resources and stuff but it could be just as effective as all of my English classes in the past so perhaps it’s better that I’m dealing with it oon my own. The biggest problem is that there aren’t overly many resources but since I’ve found a website for Welsh learners with a lot of courses and stuff it’s become much easier and structured for me and I don’t have to constantly be on the look out for new things in case I run out of the resources I have now or they stop being helpful. It’s also fairly accessible. Listening is definitely my main way of learning Welsh as it’s kind of a priority in my courses, I’m terribly slow at reading and my vocab could be better but at least with the latter I’m sure I’ll get there in time. I’d also really really like to be better at listening as my brain is kind of sluggish when processing auditory input in Welsh haha. So far, despite I’ve had a Welsh faza, I haven’t had such a speedy jumping like with ENglish and Swedish, with Welsh it would be even better because it’s more difficult, and I’ve actually found learning it much more strenuous than the other two languages, but no less exciting.

And with all of my other languages, I think I’ll also be learning them by myself.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (21st September).

Did you have foreign language classes in your school?

My answer:

I had English classes from the beginning of primary until the end of my formal education, and German kind of on and off since fourth grade in primary until the end of secondary. But I don’t feel like the classes gave me much beyond teaching me the very beginnings of English which could perhaps be hard if I didn’t have them at school.

How was it with you? If you did have language classes, do you feel like you actually benefitted from them in any way? Or maybe quite the opposite? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (19th September).

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Let’s talk languages for a while. Simple question for now:

What’s your native language?

My answer:

As most of you on here surely know, my native language is Polish. My Dad is Kashub and can also speak Kashubian but I only know little bits and pieces of it and can’t understand anything substantial if someone speaks really fluently and fast, also I don’t really identify myself strongly with Kashubian. But I do love Polish to bits and I’m so glad that it’s my native language. It’s cool, beautiful, and a great language to start out with if you want to learn difficult languages. πŸ˜€

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Do you have any siblings? Do you fight or get along well?

My answer:

I’ve written about my siblings more extensively many times before, so I won’t here, but yes, for those of you who don’t know, I have a 21-year-old brother Olek (Aleksander) and a 13-year-old sister Zofijka (Zofia). With Olek, we neither fight nor get along particularly well, it’s all very very neutral. With Sofi, we both fight and get along well, depending on an occasion. We have a lot of differences, but at the same time it also means that we complement each other well. I don’t always believe in that opposites complement each other well in terms of people but here it seems to work a lot of the time. Whether we do the former or the latter, it’s always quite intense though.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (17th September).

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Have you ever had couscous, or do you like it?

My answer:

Yes, I have had it. But let me give you a bit of a backstory first as I guess it might be interesting. The first time I had couscous was around the time when I started primary or perhaps during nursery yet. I had an aunt back then, who wasn’t my real, biological aunt, but I always called her aunt anyway and will always think of her as such. And whenever I think about couscous, I immediately think of her. πŸ˜€ She lived very close to my boarding school, and at some point during nursery, when my Mum realised that I was struggling there and wanted to do something about it, she was looking for a flat or a room to rent there so that she could be closer to me and so that we could live there at least temporarily and some of the time during the year. The prices were really high though in that part of the country and there weren’t that many satisfying offers anyway, and so finally during her search my Mum phoned just another real estate agent, who didn’t have anything to offer for her but felt really moved by our situation as it seemed and offered that, since she lived so close to the boarding school, she could be like my aunt and visit me or I could visit her and perhaps having someone like this would make things easier for me even though it wouldn’t be my actual family. Mum was euphoric, though I remember being rather skeptical about the idea. But it actually turned out to be a great thing, we got along very easily and I grew very attached to her. It wasn’t quite like as if I lived with my family and it didn’t resolve all the problems, but it did make things easier. I absolutely adored spending time in her house which was very different from my ownn or from any houses I had been to so far. I visited her on weekends or we went out somewhere. When my Mum couldn’t be at stuff like different contests, Nativity plays or other such that I might have taken part in, she would often come and cheer me, despite she neither had to nor actually should as she was chronically ill and had something with her immune system so it was a bit risky. When my Mum came to me for the weekend or longer rather than took me home, she let us stay at her home upstairs so we didn’t have to continuously spend the time in the boarding school. She was extremely altruistic, to the point that you could consider it foolish or extremely naive. My family and her had a lot in common, though also at the same time she was very different from them which attracted me all the more to her, and also we both shared a passion for figurines, which I collected at the time, mostly porcelain figurines, and so did she, and we exchanged a lot of our figurines. Sadly though, this relationship didn’t last too long, because over time she felt worse and worse physically and had a lot of familial problems, so couldn’t see me as regularly as she used to, and finally, some two years or so since we first met, she moved out with her daughter to the city. I tried to keep in touch with her and called her infrequently but regularly when I was at home and could do it, as I felt very grateful for what she did to me and knew she was struggling with a lot of things and of course my family also encouraged me to show my gratitude towards her, and she continued to have more and more health issues of her own and also her two granddaughters were very ill. And then at some point we lost touch. Both me and Mum tried to find her, as it seemed like she changed her phone number, and we both wanted to show her our gratitude and perhaps help if possible, but from what we could find out it seemed like she might just as well have moved out somewhere else and we were unable to trace her. So it’s been very many years since we’ve last heard from her and this sucks a lot, as I’d like her to know how very helpful she had been to me, and I’d like to be able to reciprocate somehow. Since she was in her early fifties when we were in touch and as I said she was already struggling a lot with her health, I’m not even sure if she’s still alive.

Anyway, she was also a real foodie and quite sophisticated in general and, during my stays at hers, I got to try a lot of things that were totally new to me. Like the couscous, for example.

Interestingly, I found it absolutely delicious and I was a real fan of couscous. But when, years later, I asked my Mum to make it and she did, somehow it wasn’t quite as good, and my Mum found it even more unpleasant. My Mum is a fab cook and often makes various grains so I wonder was it just that it wasn’t so new and exciting anymore, or did my aunt make it in some special way that made it have a bit more character or have I just grown out of couscousmania. Whatever the reason, these days I find couscous incredibly bland, and so does everyone else here, so we don’t really eat it in our house. Perhaps we’re just not classy enough hahaha. I know that, because it’s so neutral, you can combine it with a lot of things, but either we haven’t combined it with the right things or it’s just not our thing because no matter the additions, spices and stuff the couscous itself always feels bland.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Do you like lime or lemon juice more? How do you drink it?

My answer:

I’m gonna say lemon just because I drink lemon juice more often, but they’re both pretty much equally good for me. I add lemon juice to water when I need a really refreshing drink, preferably also with some ice, or sometimes to fizzy drinks that I like. Occasionally I drink water with lemon juice and honey in the mornings. And I used to have lemon juice with alcoholic drinks when I drank those more regularly, like I’d drink Jack Daniels with Pepsi and some lemon juice, or just Jack Daniels with lemon juice. These days I don’t really have drinks, or extremely rarely because we no longer have that tradition of drinking with Mum when watching movies or stuff, and I no longer feel like it and I figured drinking always makes me feel incredibly crappy quite quickly, so I don’t do it even, or especially, when socialising with more people.

How about you? Do you like either lemon or lime juice at all? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (15th September).

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Do you add salt to your food if it does not necessarily need it?

My answer:

It’s not a rule, and I don’t have to have lots of salt on my food to enjoy it, but yes, sometimes I do it. Both me and my Dad are salty spicy people and we seem to have higher tolerance or something to more salt and more spicy stuff than most people I know.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What are you thinking about?

My answer:

That after writing this post, I’m gonna go sleepy sleep. I’ve been feeling quite dreadful today because finally, after like half a year, Jack the Ripper, aka Jack the Butcher has come to visit me yesterday, and he’s been catching up on all the lost time. Although from what my gynaecologist has told me in the past it’s not overly concerning yet, especially if you have some hormonal problems to begin with like I do with pituitary not to have your period for about half a year, I was beginning to get a bit concerned very recently and Jack must have read my thoughts and came yesterday showing his full potential. I’ve had a terrible headache all night and most of the day today and am feeling achy and lousy overall, and I’ve actually slept already today, which is not like me because I normally don’t nap during the day and avoid it for all costs, but I still feel like bed is the best place to be in right now. But hey, at least I didn’t seem to get any bad PMS symptoms, and am feeling okay emotionally and mentally today, that’s a big plus! Perhaps tomorrow will be the other way around. But I better not say it if Jack can seriously read my thoughts. Well I was a bit mood-swingy lately but not so that it would be a problem or that I’d even noticed it could be PMS. So yeah… 😴

Oh but speaking about all things hormones, have I told you guys about my thyroid ultrasound? I mean the results? Well I don’t remember now so if I did, I’ll just tell you again. As I wrote before it I was a little worried that something may be wrong, but the ultrasound doctor said it was totally normal, so I’m happy. Even the socialising wasn’t too bad, somehow I managed to get along with him without much difficulty, perhaps because his daughter apparently is also called Emilia, lol, and it went more smoothly than it always did in the past back when I was going to Medical Academy for all sorts of pituitary and thyroid testing when I was a minor, the ultrasound there always took ages and something about it was super stressful so I was very surprised. As always, defensive pessimism paid off.

Okay, your turn now, my thinking brain is shutting down so I have nothing more to say on the topic. πŸ˜€

Question of the day (13th September).

Hi people! πŸ™‚

What are you listening to?

My answer:

Currently nothing really. But as for what I’ve been listening to a lot lately and have been listening to a lot today as well, it’s a new radio station I’ve discovered a few weeks ago thanks to my iPhone and the TuneIn Radio app. On my computer I use Radio Sure and I thought that I already knew of all the Welsh language radio stations that exist out there, but turns out that there was one that was not on Radio Sure, but is on TuneIn Radio, that I had no idea about, and I’m glad I finally learned about its existence as, similarly to Cymru FM and BBC Radio Cymru, I’ve already made some interesting music discoveries thanks to it. It’s called Blas Folk Radio Cymru, and, just like its name suggests, it plays folk music and it’s generally very traditional folk music, no folk rock, folk pop and other such fancy stuff. As is usually the case with radio stations, I don’t necessarily like all the music that they play, but there seems to be a whole lot of harp music and generally a lot of instrumental music. And so because even though I have my iPhone I still like to listen to my favourite stations during the day on the computer, and am not going to use TuneIn on the computer, I decided to add |Blas Folk Radio Cymru to the Radio Sure’s database and it is in it now. So yeah, there have been and probably are still going to be some nice Welsh music discoveries for me.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Β 

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Do you have any weird animal facts you can share with us?

My answer:

I am certainly not a wealth of knowledge about animals and don’t know how weird this is going to be for people, but recently, in the Polish cat literature anthology I’ve read that I’ve been mentioning a lot, there was a piece about how allegedly all cats sometimes make a sort of half-meow, as if they were about to meow but change their mind in the last second. Apparently the desired effect of it is immediate –
it results in total melting of the human heart. – I found that very interesting because, while obviously I can only hear when Misha’s meowing but can’t see when he’s about to meow but doesn’t actually do it, somehow it seemed questionable to me whether it’s indeed “all” cats who do it, I’ve never heard my family talk about Misha doing things like this, and he really does have a very wide and rich repertoire of manipulative strategies. I asked my Mum the next day and she said no, Misha doesn’t do it, unless involuntarily, like when he’ll yawn at the same time when he wants to meow or he’s been asleep for so long that his larynx has to relearn how to work properly and what it’s actually supposed to do, it’s very funny when Misha is so sleepy and can’t speak yet, or sometimes Misha will meow and sneeze at the same time and that’s really cute. But he never seems to do such things voluntarily and I really don’t get why would this be so particularly heart-melting and neither does my Mum, I mean everything about Misha is cute but I don’t know why this meowing but not meowing would be supposed to be more than anything else. Perhaps he spent too little time with his birth mummy –
Hansa Luft (yep, that’s apparently her name) – and she didn’t have enough time to teach him such sophisticated details, and now Misha has literally no contact with other cats as he seems not to like it at all so he has no way of obtaining such knowledge. So yeah, that’s my weird fact about my apparently weird Misha.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Do you wear clothing with prints/patterns?

My answer:

Yes. I may not know about all my clothes which ones do have prints or patterns and which not, but generally if something has some sort of print I like to know what it is so that people don’t think I’m someone I’m not just because of a print I have on my T-shirt. My Mum had such a situation once where she had a rather vulgar writing on some clothing item which was in English and she had no idea about it. It wasn’t a problem for her overall but she was very unpleasantly surprised, which I can understand, because regardless of whether you’re okay with swearwords on your clothes or not, it’s always better to be aware. Or I had a blind friend who had a T-shirt she liked very much because of how it felt and fit her, only it had a picture of a band she didn’t like, well maybe not like she actively didn’t like it but just definitely didn’t care about it, and she only realised it had a print when she went in it to school and everyone kept asking her whether she likes them and why or just assumed she liked them and said that they do too or they don’t so how dare she like them. πŸ˜€ I think it’s good to know what you’re promoting, lol. My most favourite T-shirt that I have with a pattern is the “Purr” one, I’ve often mentioned on this blog that I got from Sofi, which is very warm and the “purr” print is made of some sort of plush and is tactile.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What was the last YouTube video you watched?

My answer:

Hmmm, let me have a look… I watched a lot of YouTube earlier today and a lot of different stuff, so right now I don’t remember what was last. πŸ˜€ Ah, yeah, it was a testimony of a Polish guy who is now a Christian but used to be muddled in the occult and new age stuff, and how he got rid of it and now educates people about spiritual dangers, from the point of view of the Catholic church, of course. And he actually seems very competent in the topic. Many people I’ve heard about or even known, who are dealing with this or who tried to help to get me out of my own shit like lucid dreaming, Doses etc. etc. seem to know what can be harmful and dangerous but can’t say why, which makes it feel much less credible, ’cause naturally if something is harmful, you want to know why exactly, what are the risks, what’s wrong with it, and if they can’t provide you such information, why should you believe them, especially if what you’re doing seems fun, as it often does with such things at the beginning? People just tell you “Don’t do this” “Don’t do that” because “It’s wrong”, and it always bugged me when they wouldn’t say why. Of course, in most cases, if you’re inquisitive enough and genuinely want to know you can dig deeper yourself and check it out, but not everyone wants to, for example I didn’t want at the time and only later did I begin to want to learn about what might be wrong with these things, when I’ve already started to feel like I might be heading in an entirely wrong directioon with this whole life thing. And not everyone has the patience or intellectual abilities required. And even if people do know about what’s exactly wrong with specific things that are considered spiritually harmful for Christians, and what makes them harmful, they often seem not to know much about this thing in practice. I mean, back when I started feeling like there might be something seriously wrong with lucid dreaming, and I was reading in Christian resources on it, even people who claimed to have some past experience with it and now specialise in helping people with similar experience, know a lot about the topic both from the inside perspective as well as from the Christian perspective, they often wouldn’t be able to even spell the word oneironautics properly – oneironautics – oneironautics is lucid dreaming and the ability to travel in the dream world – and would often confuse different terms or such, that made them feel much less credible to me because it made them look like they didn’t even care to make the research, and their claims of having experienced it directly or indirectly weren’t very believable. For people who are deep into the bad stuff it’s not going to be convincing. I remember how I once got really annoyed when my Mum sent me a list of “forbidden” artists and bands that a Christian shouldn’t listen to, compiled by some priest. I can understand, though don’t approve of, the intention behind using the word “forbidden”, as it’s so jarring and I guess the whole thing is not about forbidding because everyone has free will, but it was all the more jarring that the list following it was not only full of spelling errors, making it feel very possible that the author had little practical idea about these artists and who they were or didn’t care enough about the people who were going to read it to even just autocorrect the spelling, and, more importantly, it felt like a totally random list of artists from all sorts of genres, without any explanation or anything, just a list. It did include obvious stuff like “Ozzie Ozborn” or Juda’s Priest, but even such people like… Amy Grant! Amy Grant is a Christian singer. I used to like a few songs by Amy Grant just because of how they sounded, I only knew English enough to understand that it’s Christian music but not what it exactly is about, so I don’t know, perhaps there are some disonances between her lyrics or whatever she’s doing and the actual Christian faith, I had no idea and I’m no longer into Amy Grant because I’m just not into Christian pop music, but back then, even though I was no hardcore fan of Amy Grant at all, I found that very frustrating that someone would “forbid” me to listen to something without any explanation at all. And I think many people may feel that frustration and it can discourage them greatly and effectively from either coming back to Christianity or accept it as one’s religion. I’m so grateful that I was not one of such people and that I got a chance to re-convert and was able to use it and that I have my Mum who has prayed for me and has been my spiritual director, and who has shown me that there isn’t only one way of experiencing God, even in one religion. So it feels really good for me to see people who actually have an idea about these things. And as it seems not only about the new age-y kind of stuff, because a lot of Christians when they think spiritual dangers think only new age and the occult.

How about you? What did you think about the video you watched? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

What is something that is makiing you feel bad?

My answer:

One thing that makes me feel perhaps not like super bad, but a little anxious and uncomfortable, is that I have a doctor appointment tomorrow to have a thyroid ultrasound done. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about having to interact with people there so while it’s not a super challenging or unusual situation that would paralyse me, I also have my Mum to help out as my spokesperson, it’s just a bit uncomfortable and it’s been in the back of my brain all the time for a while. As you may know, I’d been treated for hypothyroidism since I was a very little child, I was taking thyroid hormone and growth hormone. At some point I went off the thyroid hormone though, which most people have to take throughout their entire life, as I seemed not to have neither any specific symptoms anymore when off it, nor any special improvement in anything while taking it. Probably the only symptom of hypothyroidism I can strongly relate to these days is low mood, for which I have a separate diagnosis these days though and no doctor has ever said that I have the mood difficulties that I do because of hypothyroidism, and low energy which is a common thing in womenn on my Mum’s side of the family because of low blood pressure, and my Mum has the same thing. Anyway, recently I had some blood tests and it turned out I still do have my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels elevated, so my GP thought she’d refer me for the ultrasound, just in case there’s something else going on. I’ve never had anything particularly wrong going on on ultrasounds as far as I know, except for my thyroid being a little bit too small, but it’s always better to check it out once in a while I guess, especially that I didn’t have it in like over 5 years. So I am also a little bit stressed in case something may have changed, even though rationally I know it’s not super likely.

Also the Dad thing is still affecting me a bit.

My Mood has been very much up and down lately, but I don’t think there are any more clear, external reasons right now for the downs, or can’t think of any, so it’s probably just mostly my brain.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

What is something that is making you feel good, these days? πŸ™‚

My answer:

Misha’s presence is always making me feel good. Right now he’s sleeping on the wardrobe and he has spent almost the entire day with me.

The cooler weather is making me feel good, too. The summer heat has been quite exhausting for me, and for Misha too, also for my Mum and I think for a lot of people as it was really a long time and at times felt insanely hot, and I’m really glad that it’s cooler now, it feels very pleasant outside.

The fact that my Dad’s at work so I don’t have to deal with him for a few days πŸ˜€ – he’d had quite long holidays recently and now he’s gone back to work yesterday. It gets unpleasant and stale when you’re spending so much time with someone and you’re not really on the same wavelength at all.

Music. I’ve been listening to lots of great music, but that’s nothing new. Also my great speaker and headphones that I’ve got myself recently and that I use with my iPhone. I really love my computer speakers as well, but, as I always listen to something quietly at night, it wasn’t as much of a pleasure listening to something at night on them, with all the accompanying hum of my desktop computer.

Food always makes me feel good as well. Today we had very yummy chocolate budyΕ„ with Mum. Mum makes it on her own, it’s not the instant, shop-bought budyΕ„. I think I’ve explained somewhere on here earlier what budyΕ„ is, but if you don’t know, it’s kinda like a creamy Polish pudding. Only Mum put a bit too much chocolate into it, and while it was extremely delicious, it was really, really sweet, and neither of us was able to eat a lot. πŸ˜€

Books make me feel good. Right now I’m reading a very amusing Polish book, which is basically an anthology of different texts from mostly Polish literature, but not only, from different time periods and genres, all about cats! I’ve just started it today in the morning but I think it’s going to be very enjoyable for me. And the last book I read was “Harriet and the Cherry Pie” by Clare Compton, a lovely English children’s book, the style and plotline of which reminded me very strongly of Noel Streatfeild, and I like things like these. Since the main character lived in her great aunt’s cafe, there was lots of food involved.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day. And a bit about the sensory anxiety thing.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

What was the last thing you got excited about?

My answer:

An iPhone app I discovered recently. It seems to be primarily geared at people who need noise cancelling in noisy environments, or people who just very generally need some sound background for meditation or relaxation or focus, and I played around with it mostly just out of curiosity because I’ve heard good things about it and thought, why not, I could do with a pleasant relaxation app. Only it turned out that it is possible that it could do much more for me, potentially. I’ll have to check it out in a true crisis situation but it’s promising. What I mean is that, when you purchase the app, you get access to a lot of different soundscapes or sound generators, which clearly aren’t just looped sounds, you can also calibrate the app so that it best suits your hearing range and your needs, and you can play around with these sounds and pretty much create your own mixes of friendly sounds in there.

Now if you know me you probably suspect where I’m heading with this. I gave it a long try, and was really pleasantly impressed with its capabilities and also with the pretty wide range of sounds, and I thought that, potentially, it could be a good tool in my tool box for dealing with sensory anxiety…

Okay, but most of you still don’t have a clue or almost no clue what this sensory anxiety is…

So, very spontaneously for me, I’ve just decided that I’m going to tell you a bit more in this post about sensory anxiety and how I experience it. It still most likely won’t be an exhaustive description and I am not aiming for it to be too long as its part of the question of the day post, though we’ll see, but I feel like I’m ready to try to write about it a bit more, so that you know what I’m talking about when saying sensory anxiety, and just in case someone may ever read this post who is struggling with the same thing so that they know they’re not alone. It’s just such a tough topic to describe, a totally sick thing and quite risky and emotionally weighty, but I have Misha so let’s hope I can do this). For those of you who are very new here and have never seen any of my posts where I mentioned this, very basically, sensory anxiety is how I call collectively a few different things I deal with on a regular basis, which include a fear of silence which can have a different degree depending on a situation (I do love silence but at the same time it can be awfully scary in the wrong circumstances), and anxiety and general discomfort triggered by specific sounds, groups of sounds, harmonies or even words, or sometimes specific sounds in specific situations, as well as these triggery and scary sounds then literally getting stuck in my brain after I hear them and popping up in an intrusive way. It’s like a brainworm, and I know I’m only hearing it in my brain, but I have very little control over it, and it feels very real and overwhelming.

From what I’ve observed talking to other people, also people who have perfect pitch and such and so know more about sound than I do, and analysing these things for myself over the years, there doesn’t seem to be any specific objective pattern recognisable for another person, between the things that are scary for me. But for me there are quite a few very clear ones, which are impossible to describe in words. These sounds most definitely have things in common.

When I hear such a triggering sound in my surroundings, my typical reaction is freeze. As a little kid I used to shriek, and sometimes when it feels particularly scary I feel a sort of fainting feeling and have collapsed a few times when I was hearing something scary while I was standing.

Sensory anxiety is by no means any professional term or anything, I’ve no idea if things like these have any particular professional term. πŸ˜€ It’s just how I call it so that I have a way to refer to it, in English. People have told me it’s anything from sensory deprivation, hypersensitive/immature nervous system, a form of blindism (blindisms are typically repetitive movements in children who are blind and this is their way of compensating for the lack of sight, providing themselves some additional stimulation, most commonly they are things like eye poking or rubbing, spinning around or just head spinning, rocking, hand flapping, kinda like stimming in neurodiverse people but a bit different genesis, anyway the person who told me that claims that there may be other types of things classified as blindisms, which seems to make some sense because why would it be only movement used as compensation, but I’ve never heard about that from anyone else nor found any resources about it), a kind of sensory overload like there is in autism, prodromal stage of psychosis (that was my last therapist’s theory, the one who was so crazy about my blindness, I wonder when I’ll finally go on to full-blown psychosis, I’m no psychiatrist but 23 years feels like a super lengthy time for psychosis to still be developing πŸ˜€ it’ll have to be something totally unusually monstrous once it’ll become full-blown!), some other kind of hallucinations, sensory processing disorder,, weird electrical activity in the brain triggered by auditory stimuli, just a part of generalised anxiety, to I don’t remember what else. A lot of these things make sense but I don’t have a clear answer. I have met some young blind children with similar stuff or people who had something more or less similar as little children but they’ve all grown out of it. My Mum says that maybe I still will too, and I hope so, but from what I’ve seen and heard it’s usually around early school age or even earlier when people get rid of it. It’s also possible that there are a few different things at play here rather than just one.

I’ve also met one guy (also blind) who once showed me some of his favourite music, and at some point he told me that he’s going to send me a few other tracks, and that they are going to be very “energetic”. The way he said it felt very meaningful for some reason. I didn’t say anythiing to that so he continued that by energetic he doesn’t mean dynamic, or happy, in fact a few of them are going to be the opposite, but that there are very interesting harmonies in them, and that it makes them feel very strange to him, both in a very good and in a bad way. And when he has this sort of feeling when listening to music he calls it “energetic”. And… whoa!!! the effect was spectacular for me! My brain did become so “energised” that I couldn’t sleep all night. πŸ˜€ His “energetic” music, just seems to work on me. And, weirdly, I do feel like the word energetic describes the thing in an incredibly accurate, and somehow eerie, way. This “energetic” music is only one kind of music or type of sound that my brain is allergic to, but that felt very interesting to meet someone thinking so similarly, even though he didn’t seem to react with anxiety to the “energetic” music and it seemed to be mostly a very positive thing for him. I can also agree with him that these “energetic” sounds can sometimes be very enjoyable because of how interesting they sound, but for me the line between something “energetic” being interesting and scary is very thin and it has often happened that I was quite enjoying listening to something and at some point it became too much to handle. There is some weird way in which it can attract you, though. And there have been, very few, but still, such incidents where some music I reacted very strongly and negatively to and froze immediately when hearing it, with time has grown on me and I’ve started to like it, even a whole lot. A prime example of this is the Norwegian singer Fay Wildhagen and her newest full-length album, Borders, with which I fell in love so deeply in the end that I shared almost all of the tracks from it on my blog, and I really like Fay now. But that is very rare. I didn’t even mention my sensory anxiety to that blind guy, nor even that I get the “energetic” thing, because as I said it’s a difficult topic for me, and I only knew him for a day or so.

Usually, I can become more or less desensitised to a specific sound over time, but there are sounds which have been haunting me since forever, and sometimes it happens that I become scared of something again if I’m exposed to it. For example, there’s that song by Mattofix, I’m not sure I spell the name of the band right but I don’t care, I’m not going to check it out, the song is called Big City Life. I was scared of it for weeks when it was a hit, and couldn’t recover properly because it was a hit so it was everywhere as hits tend to be. Over the months or perhaps years, I felt like it was over, but then when I heard it again much later when I was generally stressed, it all came back! The worst thing is that Olek loves this song despite it’s over 10-year-old, and I once mentioned to him that I don’t like it. That’s what I usually say to people when something triggers me, because, well, what other thing could I say? “Huh, this tune makes me feel so “energised!”? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ But he of course thinks I only don’t like it, in a normal way, it just doesn’t appeal to me, it’s just my cup of tea, you get it. So I always dread riding anywhere with him in his car because he will ALWAYS, ALWAYS play this!

So far I haven’t been able to find a strategy that can totally eliminate it, except for some really really effective distraction but that’s rarely achievable to such a degree, and I am not expecting this app to do the trick, but there are things that can often decrease it more or less, one of them being surrounding myself with friendly and calming sounds. Typical relaxing music is something I like but something that sometimes works, and at other times does not, because it can have weird harmonies which don’t necessarily sit right with me when I’m already set off, so I go for things that are familiar usually, or that have very low risk of being potentially scary, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be objectively calm though it’s good if it is (Enya is the best!!!), but really when I’m like extremely bad anything can feel scary, packed with adrenaline, evil and aggressive, with the aggression geared directly at me, even Misha meowing. πŸ˜€ That’s really extreme though and happened only once to me – with Misha and when it’s this bad, it just has to go away on its own or only sleep helps temporarily if I can put myself to sleep. – And meds help to some degree too.

And so I thought that creating such friendly environment for myself with this app could be very helpful in such a crisis situation, assuming that I’d mix the sounds feeling relatively normal so that I wouldn’t have to do it at the moment when I need them, and so that’s what I did. It could be even more helpful in situations where I would be actually hearing something disturbing and not really able to extricate myself out of a situation, but would at the same time happen to have my phone and headphones with me. I could isolate myself pretty effectively unless the sound would be particularly loud. Sadly things rarely work like this that you always have what you need at the right moment, I rarely go out with headphones or even go around the house with them, but it’s good to have such an option, and I did have such situation last month with Sofi where she was watching some YouTube video in my room with really scary music, and I just happened to have my new headphones at hand and they worked well as they have a noise cancelling functionality in them.

I like the idea of immersing myself in a friendly sound environment like this which I can almost fully control, and cut myself off from silence/scary sounds/my brain throwing the scary sounds at me, at least to a degree.

There is only one problem and potentially could make it all a bad idea. When I experience this sensory anxiety thing I also feel very hypervigilant, and have the need to control what’s going on around me, in my immediate surroundings. When I’m struggling with this I may feel like someone is standing behind me, or maybe not even truly feel but just have a suspicion and be anxious that there might be someone standing behind me. Some of my stronger sensory anxiety triggers that have been with me throughout my life have become like almost fully personified, I think mainly because they are often featured in my sleep paralysis dreams, and while I always know full well that it’s all in my brain, no matter how I’m feeling, when I get flooded with intrusive scary sounds from the inside, or triggery sounds from the outside, aside from that weird, uncomfortable feeling and the rush of adrenaline, I feel like something scary is going to happen next, I can’t explain it, not even fully to myself, and it’s not rational at all. And then often when I feel the slightest movement around me, feel the slightest creek, or even nothing at all, I feel like someone might be there. Even if it’s an actual and well-meaning human being, it can still be scary when I don’t know full well that they are actually here. And it’s not even about someone’s presence, it’s just very general, when I’m unaware of my surroundings in such situations, it can just generally feel creepy and like I’m totally out of control and like absolutely anything can happen. It’s really difficult to describe, well, this whole thing is really difficult to describe.

Oh shit, I already feel kind of jittery just from writing about it all. Let’s bring some great music oon. And good that I have Misha here.

So, to sum this weird post up, I think I’ll just have to wait for the triggery stuff, and then I’ll try it out. I’m really excited and curious what the results will be though I’m also a bit scared that it won’t work. It does have the potential to work very well though, so let’s be hopeful!

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

What was the last thing you got angry about?

My answer:

Minor trigger warning first, just in case: mention of self-harm urges, not actual self-harm.

*******

I got badly angry today and I still sort of am, but I’m not sure I can write about this at this point. First because it’s too fresh and I don’t want to write things I may regret later, and I am just having too much of a jumble in my brain at the moment so I don’t really know how to put it anyway, also I don’t feel too well physically at the moment, I don’t know, feels like I’m going to have a migraine soon, though I’ve taken the migraine med so hopefully it’ll go away before it starts properly. So I’m not really up to writing a whole long essay which it would probably be if I wrote about it in detail. πŸ˜€ Anyways, it’s nothing major, just happened to be very upsetting to me and is to do with my Dad. Thankfully I’m on my own at home for the evening so I can recharge a bit. I also am (or rather, to be exact I should probably say something like I know I should be) proud of myself though because I really felt like cutting as I’ve been feeling quite overloaded with awful feelings after that Dad thing and still am, though a bit less because I’m alone so that helps that I am not having any witnesses of how I’m feeling or anything and helped me to recover a bit, but didn’t cut in the end and don’t feel a strong urge to do so anymore, so that’s always some achievement. On the other hand I didn’t do anything else to let out the feelings either, except for writing a little here, as I can’t cry or do anything other constructive at this point, so it’s still bottled up and fizzing nicely. πŸ˜€ Maybe it just needs time.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

What was the last thing you cried about?

My answer:

Can’t recall anything I’d cry about recently, except for that I had a weird dream a few nights before and woke up crying a bit but once I woke up for good I could not remember what it was about, other than it was a bit upsetting but couldn’t recall any details at all. Such strange dreams have been happening weirdly often to me for a year or so. Not like super frequently but it almost never happened to me before and now it’s every few months or more often. But since I normally don’t remember the dreams in much detail afterwards, or if I do, they’re no longer that very upsetting after I wake up, it’s not a big deal, just kind of strange. Perhaps my brain compensates for my crying inhibition during daytime or something.

You? πŸ™‚